A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in Glasses Throughout human history certain drinks have done much than just quench thirst As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course

  • Title: A History of the World in 6 Glasses
  • Author: Tom Standage
  • ISBN: 9780802715524
  • Page: 410
  • Format: Paperback
  • Throughout human history, certain drinks have done much than just quench thirst As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21sThroughout human history, certain drinks have done much than just quench thirst As Tom Standage relates with authority and charm, six of them have had a surprisingly pervasive influence on the course of history, becoming the defining drink during a pivotal historical period A History of the World in 6 Glasses tells the story of humanity from the Stone Age to the 21st century through the lens of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola Beer was first made in the Fertile Crescent and by 3000 B.C.E was so important to Mesopotamia and Egypt that it was used to pay wages In ancient Greece wine became the main export of her vast seaborne trade, helping spread Greek culture abroad Spirits such as brandy and rum fueled the Age of Exploration, fortifying seamen on long voyages and oiling the pernicious slave trade Although coffee originated in the Arab world, it stoked revolutionary thought in Europe during the Age of Reason, when coffeehouses became centers of intellectual exchange And hundreds of years after the Chinese began drinking tea, it became especially popular in Britain, with far reaching effects on British foreign policy Finally, though carbonated drinks were invented in 18th century Europe they became a 20th century phenomenon, and Coca Cola in particular is the leading symbol of globalization.For Tom Standage, each drink is a kind of technology, a catalyst for advancing culture by which he demonstrates the intricate interplay of different civilizations You may never look at your favorite drink the same way again.

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    1 thought on “A History of the World in 6 Glasses”

    1. First off, let me just say that if the concept of this book interests you, by all means you should read it. It's light and breezy, and you stand to lose very little by taking the time. However, I have to say that my feelings about this book are very conflicted. In terms of quality, the book is clearly delineated into two halves: the half discussing alcoholic drinks, and the half discussing caffeinated drinks. Throughout the first portion of the book, which focuses on beer, wine, and spirits, I w [...]

    2. Whoever the marketing guy was behind Erik Larson's "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America," he was a genius. Because honestly, I don't really want to read a 447 page history of the Chicago World's Fair--and I'm guessing, neither do you. But, if you were hoodwinked into believing (as I was) that Larson's opus was an inspired bit of comparison between the architect of the 1893 World's Fair and a diabolically brilliant psychopath and kept reading b [...]

    3. This book should really be called "A History of the Western World in 6 Glasses," as it doesn't consider the drinks of South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania, and much of Asia. Indeed, tea is considered only through the lens of the British empire, even though the formal Japanese tea service is arguably more interesting than a British tea party. Even as a Western history, it kind of fails, as there's a large gap between wine production in the Roman empire and the distillation of rum in Barbado [...]

    4. I noticed this book on a few friend's 'to-read' lists and thought I should write a review on it since I have read it a few years back and it is still very much part of our family's proud ellectual history8-)We do not realize how necessary fluids are for our survival. As Tom Standage states, we can live without food for quite a while, but will die very soon of fluid deprivation. In fact, aren't we looking for water on Mars before we migrate there? :-)) Initially I did not plan to buy this book. I [...]

    5. An interesting way of breaking history up by beer, wine, whiskey, coffee, tea, & cola. Each came into its own in our history & may well have driven it in some ways. The basic idea along with a thumbnail of each is laid out in the introduction pretty well. Well enough that I didn't want to continue listening after about half the first section on beer. I didn't care much for the narrator & that wasn't helped by repetitious writing. This would probably be a great book to read, though.It [...]

    6. It is funny how we prefer certain aspects of books. Another review here enjoyed the non-alcoholic drinks better than the alcoholic drinks due to the amount of history and economics it covered, but I found the alcohol drinks to be far more interesting, in depth, and entertaining. Overall, I liked this book and learned a lot about how these drinks affected trade and became popular worldwide.

    7. This book, I've read twice. It takes you from the formation of beer and society in Mesopotamia, to the use of wine as currency and how wine types represented a social classification system in Greece and Rome. It went through spirits and colonial time: We only have whiskey because it took too long to ship scotch and brandy by wagon out west, so we made corn whiskey. To how coffee was at first banned in Muslim society and called black wine - till they figured that it caused a different state of mi [...]

    8. 6 Glasses zeroes in on six liquids--from beer in ancient Mesopotamia to wine and spirits to coffee and tea and finally to cola and the globalization of brands such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola--and targets each as being responsible (or at least culpable) for the shaping of cultures (quite likely), writing itself (quite possible), and industrialization (believable, especially in light of Coke).Each of the libations receives its proper dues. The organization of the book itself is very well done, and the [...]

    9. I seem to be in a phase where I like books that show me the hidden life of the everyday things all around us, especially food and drink. A few years ago I read "Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany", by Bill Buford, which started me on this quest, which was followed by several more books, including "The Omnivore's Dilemma", by Michael Pollan. Most recently I read "The Search for God and Guinness", by Stephen [...]

    10. I saw this in my sister's to-read list and, boy, am I glad! This was a really fun book to read. For me. It was not so fun for my husband, who was stuck sitting next to me and hearing, "Hey, listen to this --" and "Here's something interesting --". But now I'm done, so he can read all the little leftover bits where I managed to hold my tongue and let him enjoy his own book (which probably wasn't half so interesting).The book attempts to tell the history of the world using six beverages that illus [...]

    11. This was a great book. If you're interested in history and beverages I highly recommend it to you.It explores world history from the point of view of the discovery and consumption of several key beverages: beer, wine, rum, coffee, tea and cola. I learned a lot. My favorite chapters were the ones about coffee.I recommend it, specially in audiobook format.

    12. Pop non-fiction with clever gimmick of six beverages to summarize world history. Plenty of interesting factoids. One problem is that the flip side of the cleverness of the gimmick is that all sorts of beverages are left out. The human consumption of animal milk, for example, is an interesting story with important implications but we don't learn about that. Another problem is that the research does not appear to be very deep and so some of the factoids don't seem to be true. For example, tea is c [...]

    13. It is possible to view history through almost any lens this case the author chose drinks to tell a story of the world's development. Filled with interesting facts and carefully researched, the author deftly recounts human/political/religious events from the perspective of six different drinks. Interestingly, half of them contain no alcohol!I would have rated it higher were it not for the sometimes confusing prose. Transitional phrases from one subtopic to the next did not have the flow needed to [...]

    14. สนุกมาก รับรองว่าเมื่ออ่านจบแล้วเวลาจะดื่มเครื่องดื่มเหล่านี้ จะมีมุมมองที่เปลี่ยนไป และเราจะพยายามสัมผัสรสชาดของมันมากขึ้น พอๆกับนึกถึงประวัติความเป็นมาของมัน

    15. I read about this book and was interested in the concept. How have various drinks helped shape human history? I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I got was a light read that was entertaining and informative. Discussed are beer, wine, rum, coffee, tea, and Coke. I know it sounds like a weird and random assortment, but the author makes it work. Beer was one of the first drinks mankind made, and some theories about how it happened, ancient stories about it, and its importance to ancient cultures [...]

    16. This was a lot of fun. Tom Standage is a writer for The Economist, and this book, A History of the World in 6 glasses, reads well. It takes you through 6 chapters dedicated to: beer, wine, distilled spirits, coffee, tea, and Coke. Beer was a big part of the development of domestication and agriculture, and he goes through how it probably developed and what customs still survive. Beer used to be drunk from one huge jar, and everyone would use a straw, so it was a very communal thing - one of the [...]

    17. An extremely interesting history of beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, Coca-Cola - and, yes, to some extent, water - so, it's really 7 - through the lens of world events, the evolution of civilization, colonization, trade, politics, culture, religion, health, war, and, of course, economics.This is a fast, fun read, if for no other reason than it offers relatively compact, easy to digest (!), histories of the six drinks/beverages in the context of, well, the history of the world. Particularly if y [...]

    18. As someone who's never really enjoyed "proper" history, I'm always surprised when I find myself enjoying a history book. This managed to both entertain and educate me, because with just the 6 drinks highlighted the author managed to create a brief history of civilisation as we know it. It really is amazing how much the fashions for certain drinks (and/or the lack of taxation on certain drinks) has shaped the world! I think the last chapter, on CocaCola, let the book down slightly though. For the [...]

    19. Meh Where it was good, it was GREAT. Oddly (for me, 'cos I don't touch the stuff) the section on coffee was the most interesting.Where it wasn't great, it ran to boring. Part of me wanted more, thinking it had to be more interesting than what I was reading. But after a while, part of me thought maybe it's just not, and more would be only more of the same.If you're already interested in this book, go ahead & pick it up. You'll get through it; you will learn some interesting facts; and you may [...]

    20. I enjoy history. I enjoy libations. Standage combines them both to wield a fascinating book on how 6 distinct beverages helped to shape and, at times, even define a time-period. From the Neolithic period and how the Mesopotamians stumbled into making beer, to the Industrial Revolution and the rise of Coca-Cola, it impresses the idea that beverages were not simply for enjoyment but were often catalysts of change in our society and in global influence.

    21. I wanted to enjoy reading this book more than I did. It is very informative, and the topic -- 6 glasses -- is a creative way to view history. I found it to be very repetitive, however, and the author could have cut the material in half without losing content, especially in the first half of the book (about beer, wine, and spirits). The book became more interesting to me, and less repetitive in the second half (about coffee, tea, and cola) but still would have benefitted from some editing.

    22. Your run-of-the-mill gimmicky nonfiction. This one tries organize world history through the lens of beer/wine/spirits/coffee/tea/soda. It drags here and there, but does have some fun facts I hadn't heard before. Kind of fun, kind of forgettable. Feels like virtue for being true, but doesn't leave a great deal of understanding in its wake.

    23. This got recommended at Lunacon at more than one panel I was at. The title is a bit hyperbolic. The six drinks discussed are indeed significant in the history of beverages, and their adoption occured at otherwise historically significant times, but sometimes they were just harbringers, or even merely coinciding -- though sometimes they were indeed movers and shakers in history. Then, the drinks by themselves can be fascinating.Beer is the first, and obviously, the least well-documented, since it [...]

    24. Fascinating. The kind of book that inspires you to learn even more about the subject, and to go drink something to celebrate human creativity and ingenuity.

    25. I read this book since my son recommended it to me, while reading it for his World History AP class this year. I see why he liked it and I generally did too. It is fun and breezy and covers some fascinating ground that is indeed important, and grossly undercovered in most books or courses in history.However, the book is a bit presumptuous in stating it is a “History of the World…” or that the six drinks have “defined humankind’s past.” Neither statement is totally true, except in a v [...]

    26. I would probably not have picked this book to read if it were up to me, because I tend to prefer books that go a bit more in-depth on a topic. After all, I read an entire book about one kind of fish (Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World). This was the holiday read for my in-person international book club, so I was able to breeze through it over the holidays. The author gives a brief overview of the history of six beverages - beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and Coca-Cola. Yeah, t [...]

    27. An enjoyable and readable book, like an edition of The Economist about things that happened a long time ago. It has the point of view (if you wish, you may call them “biases”) of that magazine (the author's employer), meaning, it is generally cheerful, it admires and celebrates commerce as heroic, and it doesn't spend time getting excessively hot and bothered about the exploitation and misery that inevitably accompanies human commercial activity.I hope that the author doesn't read the review [...]

    28. This books was a very interesting concept. Look at how six beverages are linked to various times and places in history. While the beer chapter lacked a bit for me, this may have been due to the fact that it was from the Neolithic Period, and lacked a lot of the excellent primary source material that Enlightenment coffee houses or rum drinking ship captains are accompanied by. Still it was a fascinating look at how civilization and drinks are linked. I wish it had better references and notes, but [...]

    29. I didn't finish this book. We went to the library Sunday and I decided just to go ahead and return it.In short:Beer - Mesopotamia, liquid bread, drink of the peopleWine - Greeks, symposia, democracySpirits - Colonialism, Slave Trade, RevolutionCoffee - Age of reason, academic discourse, people aren't drunk all the timeTea - British EmpireCoke - AmericaThe key point i took away is that what every drink has in common is an alternative to water which could be contaminated. all these drinks involve [...]

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